Nothing has been more disingenuous this entire campaign season - including Donald Trump's entire schtick - than John Kasich pretending to be a nice guy for like a week in New Hampshire. Kasich got away with it because New Hampshire voters are apparently more addicted to heroin than previously believed, and also because everyone was busy watching Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Christie.
People who have watched Kasich for years know that that the single defining personality characteristic of John Kasich is that he's a quick-tempered a**hole. Even his closest supporters admit this. Yet he walked around New Hampshire with a clearly calculated dopey grin that looked as out of place on his face as Donald Trump would look in church, and people bought it. These things happen in politics.
Kasich is now trying to take the Fake Nice Guy show on the road to South Carolina, where I expect that he will not be able to fly under the radar again. Jeb Bush has already hit him over his Medicaid expansion in pretty tame fashion, to which Kasich responded, I'm sure with his same creepy fake smile, that old Jeb Bush sure is mean and negative.
PAULEYS ISLAND, S.C. – One day after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticized him for expanding Medicaid coverage in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich accused Bush Thursday of “trashing people” and warned it could have a negative impact on the Bush family legacy.
* * *
“Jeb is spending all his time beginning negative,” Kasich said. “Is he worried at all about his legacy? Everything is trashing people.”
“He needs to start being more positive,” Kasich said. “I don’t know what he’s thinking. Does he realize the family legacy? Spending all your time being negative? But I don’t have time for that."
Give me a freaking break. This is a guy who, within the last month, called all of his opponents Satan (while calling himself the Prince of Light and Hope):
This is the same guy who called the other candidates in the race (and their supporters) "crazy" and vowed he was done being nice and that he wasn't going to stop telling people how stupid they were.
So he's got this Fake Nice Guy act going now, and he's hoping it will distract people from noticing that he apparently thinks money grows on trees. Here's what he actually said about the cost of the Medicaid expansion:
“I am for repealing Obamacare,” Kasich said. “But expanding Medicaid at this point, bringing our dollars back, is working. It’s saving money and it’s saving lives. And that’s what really matters at the end of the day.”
What he's referring to here, presumably, is the fact that the Federal government provides matching funds for the Medicaid expansion. This is the same dumb argument that other non-conservative governors have used to justify expanding Medicaid in their own states.
A few problems with Kasich's "logic," here. First, just because the Federal government gives you a lot of money if you spend money, does not mean that you are not spending money. You can't use the Federal matching funds to pay back what you've already spent; that's just money that gets spent in addition to what you are spending on the Medicaid expansion.
Second, just because the matching funds come from a separate pool (Federal funds) does not mean the money isn't forcibly extricated from taxpayers. Specifically, Ohio taxpayers (but also the taxpayers of other states as well, including those who wisely rejected the Medicaid expansion boondoggle). So yeah, Ohio taxpayers aren't responsible for paying all of the cost for the Medicaid expansion, but that just means that people in other states (like South Carolina!) had to chip in to buy health insurance for people from Ohio, which is maybe not the best pitch you want to make on the campaign trail.
Money that the Federal government spends does not grow on trees. It's probably past time John Kasich learned that.